Childhood Obesity – Hispanics at Increased Risk

1 in every 3 young children are overweight or obese.
Hispanic youths are more likely to be obese and are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease as they get older.  Hispanic kids of low-socioeconomic status consume too much total and saturated fat, cholesterol, added sugar and sodium.
White children and teens watch 2 hours and 45 minutes of TV per day while Hispanic children watch 3 hours and 23 minutes per day.
Hispanic children are less likely to exercise on a regular basis.
Take a couple of minutes to watch this well done, informative video about the childhood Hispanic obesity epidemic.
We are nurse practitioners who are also trying to educate hispanics to develop healthier lifestyles. We have an adult book ready to be published “TOME CONTROL DE SU SALUD Usted Puede Prevenir la Diabetes, un Ataque al Corazon  o un Derrame Cerebral”  which discusses (in Spanish) risk factors and prevention tips for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Hispanic/Latino parent can help themselves and their children prevent heart disease, stroke and diabetes by developing healthy habits and lifestyles – this book will show you how! Please visit our website for more info.

Does Yankee Stadium have Heart Healthy Foods?


I visited the “new” Yankee Stadium again this past week.  This was my 4th trip to the new stadium (Yankees beat the White Sox – Yeah!)

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 I’m very happy to see the calories listed on all the food vendor signs and they even have a healthy fruit stand. 

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Being a nurse and a woman trying to control my weight I have to say I think this is a great and long overdue service.  The amount of calories listed in many of the foods was very surprising.  

 Being at a baseball game I wanted my traditional ballpark hot dog, and did select the smaller portion rather than the footlong which saved me some calories.  Of course a lite beer goes very well with the hot dog.  

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Then later I had some popcorn, and was surprised by the number of calories present in the “large” which was the smallest portion size available.

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 Next day I spent a little extra time at the gym to burn off the extra calories I had enjoyed at the game.

 I started to wonder: Do most people really pay attention to this information? Do people make decisions based on the caloric intake?  I decided to try my first blog poll.

Please let me know your thoughts….

Do I Have to Stop Snacking to Lose Weight?


There is a general perception that snacking is bad and you need to cut out snacking if you want to lose weight. Well, the opposite is actually true.

It is important to eat regularly, every 3-4 hours to maintain your metabolic rate, promote stable blood sugar levels, and prevent insulin spikes. By maintaining a high metabolism you boost the calories you burn throughout the day, which helps you lose weight. By maintaining stable blood sugar levels and preventing insulin spikes you will prevent drops in energy.

Now, this doesn’t mean just any food will work. You need to select heart healthy snacks. This means eating snacks that balance carbohydrates with protein and/or heart healthy fats. Fat and protein slow the breakdown of carbohydrates, preventing the rapid rise in blood sugar and the corresponding increased insulin release.

Here are healthy snacks that are high in carbohydrates:

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Dried Fruit
  • Pretzels
  • Fig bars
  • Fresh fruit

You can make these snacks heart healthy by combining with a protein. These protein sources that are easy to include with snacks:

  • Glass of skim milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Butter

Here’s an example of how you can apply this to your daily snacks.

Mid-morning snack: Yogurt with granola
Mid-afternoon snack: Nuts mixed with dried fruit
Evening snack: Light frozen yogurt topped with strawberries

Balancing the carbohydrates and protein in your snacks is just one of many factors that affect weight loss. To drastically increase your success with losing weight and keeping it off you must wade through all the weight loss information available and sort out what works from what doesn’t. Many methods used to lose weight are ineffective and some may even sabotage your weight loss efforts. Sign up for the FREE teleclass to learn which weight loss strategies really work. Visit to learn more today.

Which Sugar is Worse – Fructose or Glucose?


            A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (April 2009) has reported that fructose sweetened beverages may be more harmful than glucose sweetened products.  This study followed 32 overweight or obese men and women for 10 weeks.  Some of the people drank fructose-sweetened beverages (totaling 25% of their daily caloric intake) and some people drank glucose-sweetened beverages.  Both groups gained weight during the trial but the people consuming fructose gained most of their fat in the belly area.  Belly fat has been previously linked to an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.  Also people in the fructose group had higher LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and more insulin resistance.  The people who drank the glucose beverages gained weight but it was a subcutaneous fat which is not as detrimental to our health.

            High fructose corn syrup is commonly used in the United States and is worse for your health than other sugars.  So read those food labels and try to cut down on the processed foods, avoid “high-fructose corn syrup” products!


Do Kids Need to Worry About Cholesterol?


Usually high cholesterol is considered an adult problem, most kids may not even know what cholesterol is…

With the increase in childhood obesity and diabetes, cholesterol screening is now being recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in children between the ages of 2 and 10.  Children at higher risk for cholesterol problems include: kids who are overweight/obese, have diabetes, have high blood pressure and/or have a family history of early heart disease.  LDL (which is the “lousy” or bad) cholesterol levels for children should be 130 mg/dl or lower.

If your childs cholesterol level is elevated healthy lifestyle changes should be implemented.  Children need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, limit portion sizes, weight loss strategies (if overweight) and follow a low fat/low sodium diet.  Cholesterol medications should be considered if a child has a LDL cholesterol level above 160 mg/dl plus 2 risk factors for heart disease, or if your child’s LDL cholesterol is above 190 mg/dl even if no other risk factors are present.

Elevated cholesterol levels in children are predictive of future heart problems – so it’s important to start early and encourage your children to develop heart healthy habits!

Visit for more heart healthy tips (Kids section called “Little Hearts”)


Can Diet Soda Make You Fat and Cause Diabetes?



Yes – Diet soda may actually contribute to weight gain and diabetes!  Diet sodas typically have 5 calories or less per serving but recent studies have found that people who drink diet sodas gain lots of weight.  A study by S. Fowler at the University of Texas reported a 41% increase in risk of being overweight for every can/bottle of diet soda a person has each day.

Health experts do not believe the diet soda causes obesity?? Several theories for the weight gain exist:

·  People drinking diet soda crave other sweet foods and these trigger the weight gain
·  People who drink diet soda are already overweight and have poor eating habits

· When someone drinks a diet soda they think they can treat themselves to other unhealthy food selections (diet soda does not compensate for eating fried/fatty foods)

A report from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (called MESA Study) published in January 2009 in Diabetes Care found that people who drank at least one diet soda daily had a 67% greater risk of developing diabetes.

We know regular soft drinks are unhealthy, now we have data suggesting health risks with regular consumption of diet soda.  Remember moderation is key or better yet drink more H2O….

Heart Healthy Fast Food Choices?


Fast food is convenient and inexpensive.  But can you eat healthy meals at the fast food chains? What if you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight?

McDonald’s Big Mac Value Meal can be very tempting – you get lots of food and it doesn’t cost a lot. But let’s consider the cost to your health 1,220 calories 58 grams of total fat and 1,310 mg of sodium. Can your body afford that??

We all like our occasional burger (remember moderation is key). So what are the healthier alternatives when eating fast food…

Let’s start with Hamburgers:

-select a single patty or junior size (even kid’s portion)

-skip the cheese, mayo and special sauces

-add as much lettuce, tomato and onions as you like


What about those Chicken Sandwiches or Nuggets:

-select baked, broiled or grilled chicken

-again skip the cheese, mayo or special sauces

-pile on the lettuce, tomato and onions

-skip those chicken nuggets (contain lots of trans fat – you can almost hear your arteries clogging while you eat them)


How about Fish Selections:

-fish is definitely heart healthy but NOT when it’s fried (I know it tastes good but you lose all the heart healthy benefits when you fry fish)

-avoid tartar sauce and cheese


Now let’s look at Subs and Deli Sandwiches:

Subway has commercials talking about how healthy their subs are and how people have lost weight eating there. Well if you make the appropriate choices that may be true but they also have some sandwiches you need to avoid. The Subway 6 inch meatball sub has 530 calories and 26 grams of fat.

-ask for lower fat and/or lower sodium meats

-skip the cheese and mayo

-use vinegar and salt free seasonings

-load your sandwich up with the veggies


Last but not least are the Salads:

Not all salads are heart healthy –if you eat vegetables but then smother them with high fat toppings you lose the nutritional benefits.

-select lots of different vegetables to put on top of your lettuce (remember veggies come in all different colors, your salad should not be just green)

-avoid the bacon bits, cheese and creamy toppings

-use light or low fat, low sodium salad dressings


Avoid the empty calories and liquid sugar sodas – or if you are going to get a soda order the small size.

And last but not least always remember your portion sizes – avoid those super sized meals.


With this economic crisis it can be expensive to take your family out for dinner so if you go to the fast food chains remember you can make some heart healthy selections.

For more heart healthy nutritional info visit also our new book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” lists lots of other heart healthy nutritional advice.